5 tips to stay in shape in the long term!
Here are my 5 forest green rules for feeling good and staying in shape over the long term. I'm not repeating the Brigitte headlines like "eat more vegetables, sugar is the devil, drink yourself slim and do more exercise". Everyone knows that. Hardly anyone sticks to it in the long term. In order to be permanently satisfied with yourself and your own body, we have to start with our mental roots and our relationship to nutrition. Therefore, my forest green rule number 1 is:
1. Don't forbid yourself anything, rather enjoy it in small quantities
Intemperance or “gluttony” used to be a mortal sin. I also think it doesn't lead to any satisfaction. It doesn't always have to be a whole bowl of granola, a whole jar of almond butter or the entire cup of Ben & Jerry's. Organizing your food, consciously listening to your feelings of hunger and satiety and saving something for later can be much more satisfying.
10 - 20 g of grated chocolate here and there on top will do the trick. It doesn't always have to be a whole board. It's better to have small meals with lots of different ingredients, all of which contribute to your nutrient supply. Don't ban any macronutrient, they all have their place. Instead, focus on the quality and origin of the ingredients. It could look like this, for example
Better like this than like this:
It's about tasting real and pure ingredients again and preparing them with a bit of sophistication. And that brings us to rule number 2
2. Make an effort
As Jordan Peterson says in his book “12 Rules of Life,” “view yourself as someone you need to help.” Some people order collagen peptides for their dog to care for their joint health and shiny coat, and even then live on a diet of frozen pizza. Why? Is your dog worth more to you than you are? Your dog would certainly be reassured if you took care of your joint health and you could continue to go for walks with him. Make it worth taking the time to ensure the quality of your meals.
It's less complicated than you might think and once it becomes a new habit, it's no longer any extra work. Many ingredients such as vegetables, sweet potatoes or rice can be prepared individually and stored in the refrigerator. The healthy starting point is usually already established and dishes can be created more quickly and easily.
This could look like this, for example:
3. Develop awareness
Be aware of every bite you put into your body. Chew sensibly and don't swallow. Appreciate your food and imagine where it comes from or how it grew or lived. What is food to you if you had to describe it in one word? I often hear “enjoyment”, “joie de vivre” or “energy” as the answer to this question. In the times of the world wars and generally at many points in human history, nutrition was purely a "procurement of energy". In my opinion, today it is a bit of everything. It is culture, a joy of life and at the same time a necessity. Take the time to do it that way to treat.
Track calories or not? It depends on your point of view. If you've previously paid less attention to nutrition, it may be helpful to pick up a calorie tracker and do it a few days in a row - honestly and completely! - track everything you eat.
It gives you an overview and a new perspective on the composition of your meals. If you already know about nutrition, intuitive eating may make sense for you. The focus here was on the use of unprocessed ingredients and rules 1 and 2. Food should be a good balance between functionality, taste and joy of life or social ritual.
4. Sleep and exercise
Why two opposite things under one point? Because one can only coexist with the other. While you sleep, your neural signaling pathways are “cleaned” and reorganized. A hormonal reset takes place, such as that of cortisol and melatonin. It's an exciting question as to whether we will ever be able to develop a technology that allows us to go without sleep, because to date we haven't even understood all the processes behind it.
The “physical cleansing” that takes place when sleeping is essential and can be viewed as a new start. The following day it affects your feeling of hunger and satiety, your willingness to perform and your ability to concentrate and learn. The average person feels good when they sleep for 7 to 8 hours. When you accommodate them is up to you. You will definitely know when the ideal time for you to go to sleep is. Robin likes to work in the evenings when everything is quiet outside and usually doesn't go to bed until after 1 a.m. I get tired around 11 p.m. and like to get up earlier. Everyone has their preferences and that's okay. In the long term, however, we can all only function if we allow enough time for sleep within our preferences. Avoiding blue light in the evening and using red light filters can help you fall asleep.
Physical exertion is just as important as restarting through sleep. By that I don't mean that you should push yourself to your limits every day. Nobody can give top performance permanently. It's about incorporating a certain amount of movement. Especially in times when we have been deprived of the opportunity to go to the gym, we have to look for alternatives. I find it in a combination of a daily Yin Yoga session, occasional power workouts and almost daily walking with sometimes longer hikes in between. Everyone is individual and I listen to my physical well-being. I do the power workout because I feel like exhausting myself and then being able to fall into bed and feel my muscles. Not because it's on my calendar. I do Yin Yoga because I want to become more flexible and find relaxation in certain stretches, etc. I think each of us has this feeling for physical forms of movement and can get used to doing them routinely again without beating ourselves up to have to. Just start with the goal of being worth it to yourself.
5. Gut bacteria and resistance
Let's say rules 1 to 4 are working more than well for you, but you're still constantly hungry, feel weak and unbalanced, or have digestive problems. If you have made sure – and only then! - that you live according to rules 1 to 4 and things still don't go as desired, it makes sense to get checked for any resistance, metabolic diseases or incorrect colonization. For example, I had an underactive thyroid that made it difficult for me to stay motivated and energetic. I was given medication that made me feel better and was able to reduce it as much as possible through further experience and an improved lifestyle.
Still, I cringe for a moment when someone tells me they can't lose weight because they have an underactive thyroid. When it comes to calorie consumption, a functioning thyroid accounts for perhaps 10% to a maximum of 20% of total sales. So this is not a knock-out criterion for not being able to still live a healthy life. Nevertheless, it should of course be treated.
I also had a bad microbiome population, which I was also able to get under control with a balanced diet, regular small meals and probiotics. But these are just two examples of my health history. If you feel like you're doing almost everything right and still have some kind of complaint, then I encourage you to get to the bottom of it. Your intestinal bacteria, food intolerances, lectins or metabolic and hormonal processes play a big role in your long-term well-being.
I hope I was able to help you with my experiences. I look forward to your comments or questions.